Burgers, Barbecue and Pie

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Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/15 17:27:22
Fantastic pics and report, great job bb!
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/16 08:13:07
Tuesday April 24, 2012 (cont.)
The restaurant Howard Baratz wanted to take us to was Hammett House in Claremore, OK.  It was only about a half hour drive from White River Fish Market to Hammett House.  While we were driving, Howard informed us that Claremore was the home of Will Rogers.  It wasn't until reading about the town later that I found out that it was also the setting for the musical Oklahoma.
Howard told us that the regular food at Hammett House was nothing special, put the pies were good.  Let me tell you up front that these pies were much better than just good!  We got seated in a big, comfortable booth and looked over the available pie list. 

I was very excited to see that they had sour cream raisin, my favorite pie.  But, I have also had bad experiences in the past with SCR when I have tried ordering it outside of it's typical home territory, which is the Upper Midwest.  Our perky young waitress informed us that they were out of sour cream cherry and sour cream blueberry.  I told her as long as they had the raisin, we were still good!
We each chose one pie and in the spirit of ChiTownDiner, added an extra slice for the "fourth diner".  First up was the banana cream pie. 

So many banana cream pies have an unpleasant artificial banana taste to it, but this had wonderful real banana flavor, plus had lots of small cut up bits of banana.  The filling was thick, but still airy and just about the perfect texture.  All housed in a buttery, flaky crust.  This was an high quality slice of pie.  And shockingly, this might have been the one I liked the least!
The favorite of Johnny and Howard was the peanut butter chocolate chip. 

What an impressive looking tall pie.  It was smooth, airy, with strong peanut butter flavor, yet managed to not be overly sweet or rich.  I was shocked that Johnny would pick this as his #1.  There are very few foods that he doesn't like, but he doesn't care for chocolate chips in food.  I am similar that way with nuts.  Yet, he still went crazy over this slice of pie.
The sour cream raisin

got off to a bad start with me, by having a sprinkling of nuts on top, which were easy enough for me to avoid.  And I would have preferred a meringue topping instead of the whipped cream, although all the whipped cream toppings on these pies were delicious.  But, all was forgiven when I bit into the filling, which managed to strike that perfect balance between the sweet and sour.  Although not on the level with what they serve at Farmer's Kitchen, any cafe in Iowa would be pleased to serve this and that is high praise.
Finally, my best of the best was the buttermilk chess. 

I think of chess as more of a Southern thing, but then we are probably less than an hour from the Arkansas line, so that should be close enough.  The crust on this pie was extra thick, but still flaky.  The chess part was so soft, had that buttermilk tang, plus a strong cinnamon taste.  Just an outstanding combination!
Hammett House has what looked like family photos on all the walls and it definitely has a family atmosphere about it.  We received terrific service from our waitress, who seemed to enjoy our enthusiasm over the quality of the pies.  Before I left, I went over to the pie case

to get a few photos and the hostess was happy to take them out individually, so I could get better shots.  These are some really nice people.  
From there, Howard dropped us back off at our hotel.
Hammett House Restaurant
1616 W. Will Rogers Boulevard
Claremore, OK
A big thanks to Howard Baratz for his hospitality.  That was incredibly nice of him to pick us and drive us around and he is also fantastic company.  But mostly, I am appreciative he took us somewhere with such great pies!
Much more to come..... 
post edited by buffetbuster - 2012/05/18 13:41:46
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/16 11:26:16
We are at the halfway point of the trip and we are already on page 5 of this trip report?  This thing is going to be a monster.
Just for my own curiousity, I counted how many stops we have made based on the thread title.  The current standings are:
Burgers - 8
Barbecue - 3
Pie - 4
But once we get into Arkansas, there will be much more bbq and pie.
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/16 12:04:22
Thanks to you , TTM and WJ. this forum continues to excel with super travelogues.  All of you are great and I certainly enjoy all of your post.
As a side note, a long time poster Cheesewit is stopping in Knoxville and i will meet him for lunch at Louis on Broadway where I have taken many of our roadfood friends for years.  Outstanding spaghetti sauce Greek style.  I have never met Scott before but this will be a pleasure.
As another side note this is where I took my deceased wife  48 years ago after we were secretly married.  I announced out marriage about three months after our marriage when  I had arranged our mortgage on our three bed room brick home with enclosed garage, hardwopod floors for $11,000 in 1964.  To this day I have no idea why we were secretly married except that I had been married before for three months???  The reason was mine because I was immnature and I married a beautiful woman who was  model and I later found out that she could not balance a check book.  The fault was mine.  I did much better later on whin I married Judi who was the strenght of my life.
Judi is gone but Iwanago helps me out a lot.
Paul E. Smith
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/16 12:53:21
Those pies at Hammett House look amazing! Next time I'm in that area I'll be sure to stop in. 
There's another great place for pie just 30 minutes or so south of Tulsa in the town of Okmulgee called Coleman's Bakery. Now, I've never actually been there but my nephew worked there as a dishwasher while going to college and he brought pies home a couple of times. Best pecan pie I've ever had, hands down. I feel a little guilty saying that because both my mother and aunt make a mean pecan pie!
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/16 13:32:38
Wednesday April 25, 2012
Johnny and I did get up early this morning, but it was not for breakfast or even sightseeing.  Now that it was halfway through the trip, it was laundry day.  We found a nice laundromat in the Brookside neighborhood and were in and out in under two hours.  Since we skipped our morning meal, we were ready to make up for it at lunch!
Destination #1 was a hamburger joint that has been around since 1949, Hank's Hamburgers

I love that red sign with the arrow on it. 

As you walk in, the first thing you see is a small area for to go orders. 

Since we were eating here, we continued into the restaurant.  They have a high counter for placing your order, with a smattering of booths.  There is a bigger dining room in back, but even that is on the small side.  We were glad we got here when we did, because once the lunchtime rush started, seats became scarce.  The walls aren't too busy, which I like, but we did think this redneck fire alarm was funny.
And like Coney I-Lander, they have a word scramble on a board for the customers to figure out.

Hank's won me over immediately.  The atmosphere is great and the people are friendly, but how can you resist a place that reads Hanks A Lot on one of their signs? 

I know I can't! 
In the Roadfood review, the Sterns write about a huge four patty burger called the Big Okie.  A decision was made to split this big burger, to preserve some appetite for other stops.  While Johnny was at the counter doing the ordering, he looked over the menu board

and added in some surprise sides.  
First up was the milkshakes.  Remember back at Johnnie's Grill and cousin Johnny liked his shake, but I did not.  Here, the situation was reversed.  My chocolate milkshake was thick and tasty. 

But, Johnny said his was nothing more than strawberry syrup poured over vanilla ice cream and mixed together badly.  Very disappointing for him and he did not come close to finishing it.
Luckily, things got better from here.  The burger was nothing short of sensational! 

As the sign that hangs near the grill says,

all burgers will be topped with mustard, pickles, fried onions, raw onions, lettuce and tomatoes.  It is also loaded with lots of gooey cheese.  The beef is very juicy and has great beef flavor.  This is one of the two best burgers we ate on our trip (along with J & W Grill in Chickasha).  And as you can see, it is still possible to eat this four pattied beauty by hand.

After getting home, I was reading up about Hank's on the Joe's Burger Search blog and apparently they have a secret menu item that you have to know about to order.  It is a six patty burger called the Okie Dokie.  That sounds like it might too much, even for us.
Instead of fries, Johnny went with tater tots and got them covered with chili and cheese. 

This was another big hit with us.  Plenty more melted, gooey cheese.  The chili was heavy and meaty with an intense flavor.  You combine those with the soft, salty tots and this added up to a delicious, messy dish.  The corn dog, with the light coating was a nice change of pace, but nothing special.
If the Sterns hadn't mentioned in their review about the peanut butter candy

that they sell here at Hank's we would have never known about them, because I couldn't find it on the menu anywhere.  That is until I saw this sign

near the take-out counter on the way out.  And I would have hated to miss out on them.  They use milk chocolate and are basically what we call buckeyes back home.  But something about eating them to finish a meal here at Hank's made them extra special!
As you can tell, Johnny and I thought Hank's was one of the best stops of the trip.  And we are not the only ones.  There is a photo on the wall of Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter

celebrating their 21st wedding anniversary at Hank's.
Hank's Hamburgers
8933 East Admiral Place
Tulsa, OK
Despite the size of lunch #1, we headed out for lunch #2!
Much more to come.....    
post edited by buffetbuster - 2012/05/16 19:06:25
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/16 13:38:34
This isnt a road trip. Its a journey. Thanks for letting us tag along. Incredible...
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/16 13:52:38

As the sign that hangs near the grill says, all burgers will be topped with mustard, pickles, fried onions, raw onions, lettuce and tomatoes.

Do you get a free breath mint with that?
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/16 13:59:33
Before I left for Oklahoma, I did some research to find the best pie stops in the state and both Hammett House and Coleman's Bakery made it onto my list.  Sure do wich I could have hit them both.  Next time!

Please report back about lunch with Cheesewit!  No doubt the two of you will get along famously.  And when I finally get to Knoxville, I am hoping you will take me to Louis.
I liked the way you put that.  Thanks!
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/16 15:32:48
BB:  I finally met Jane and Scott after better than ten years on Roadfood.  Super folks and great conversation.  We may be of the same tribe???  We had lunch at Louis on Broadway which is famous in Knoxville.
Perhaps the best Greek spaghetti sauce in the world??
You enjoyed perhaps one of the best looking burgers I have ever seen.  Thanks for your contributions on Roadfood.
Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/16 17:49:36
The most interesting thing I saw on that menu at Hammett House was the Lemon Pecan pie.  I've never seen that flavor before.
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/16 18:45:17
Wednesday April 25, 2012 (cont.)
We pulled into Ike's Chili House right at noon.  Ike's is located in a small strip mall

and the parking lot outside was very full.  We expected the inside to be equally as busy, but there were plenty of seats available. 

In fact,they had the entire left side of the restaurant roped off.
We grabbed a table right by the window, so I could get better photos, which was a complete failure since my pics from here aren't good.  Looking over the menu,

we decided Johnny would order the 3-way chili, I would get the frito pie and then we would split them up.  We were asked if we wanted cheese and onions and once again, who is going to say no to that? 
Here at Ike's, 3-Way chili means chili, beans and spaghetti noodles. 

Interestingly, the noodles were short, as if they were cut in half.  The chili itself is dark, meaty with strong flavor.  That chili also went well on top of the fritos pie. 

This dish is beanless and all the chili on top made the corn chips soft and limp.
The only desserts that they offer here are cobblers, which are homemade.  According to the menu board,

they had blackberry, peach and strawberry available.  Neither one of us was sure if we had ever seen strawberry cobbler before and since Johnny is a huge strawberry lover, we made that our choice. 

When it was first set down in front us, this looked like a bowl of strawberries, with cobbler part.  But, it was mushed in underneath.  But, Johnny still enjoyed it and that was the important thing.
Ike's Chili House
5941 East Admiral Place
Tulsa, OK
Okay, it was time to walk off some of that food we had just consumed.  Since we are both animal lovers, we decided to visit the Tulsa Zoo.
As soon as we entered there was a docent handling this strange little lizard, which she told us was a blue tongued skink

I had never seen one of these before and the scales were very smooth.  For some reason,I really like this photo of monkey boy petting the skink makes me laugh.

Also near the entrance, they had a large globe of the Earth, which was sitting on something that allowed it to spin easily. 

And when it spinned, water would come out and considering that the temperatures were almost into the 90s, I was ready to go over and spin it around myself.
We did get to see lots of cool animals, like elephants,



and meerkats.
Unfortunately, with it being so hot out and this being the middle of the day, most of the animals were hiding inside or just laying around.

This interesting looking animal

was relaxing in the only shaded are in it's very large pen.
They also had camel rides for kids. 

I did ask and they did say the camel could very easily carry someone my size, but after everything I have eaten this week, it seemed especially cruel to the camel.
Since this is Roadfood, it would seem like a good idea to incorporate some food into this visit.  The giraffe gives this grass a positive review. 

And apparently the tortoise food is so good, they are lining up for it!
We ended up spending about two hours at the zoo and if it wasn't so hot out, we would have stayed longer.  But, we needed to get out of the sun.  And, of course, we now had our appetite back!
Much more to come.....  
post edited by buffetbuster - 2012/05/16 18:52:03
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/16 18:49:01

I enjoyed Ike's when I visited back in 2010
Did you ride the tortoise?
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/16 18:52:57
BB:  I was there around 1982.  I was there as I was opening our pharma business there which now employees 150 employees.  I will never forget the monkey area.  I guess they were so tired of tourist that several of them threw monkey poop at us.  Fortunately we were not hit but they were farely accurate.  Not exactly like ninety Nolan but close.  perhaps they were baboons???
Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/16 19:00:15
I think a tortoise ride is much more my speed nowadays.
So glad that you and cheesewit had a good time today.  It is always great to hear about Roadfooders getting together!
We needed to have about six more people with us at Hammett House to be able to try all the pies we wanted to.  I don't think I have ever seen lemon pecan before, either.
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/17 07:59:44
Wednesday April 25, 2012 (cont.)
Believe it or not, we were headed for yet another burger joint.  This time it was Linda-Mar Drive-In on the westside of Tulsa.  The building is small and stands out with the yellow with red trim paint job. 

The same colors are also found in the restaurant interior.

Still feeling overheated from timeout in the sun, we were happy to spot cherry limeades on the menu and we quickly ordered two. 

I not a big fan of Sonic, but I do like their beverages and this tasted just like their version.  And I mean that in a good way.  It was just what we needed to cool down.  The menu

is quite big and it really made me wish that we could try more things on it, but it just wasn't possible.  We decided to split their signature burger, the Westside burger and make it a combo. 

This burger comes on grilled Texas toast that is buttered on both sides.  These are two wide 1/4 lb. patties, topped with tomato, lettuce, mustard, onion and pickles.  The Texas toast does give it a completely different taste and the whole thing seemed more buttery.  We both liked it very much.  And neither one of us are generally fans of crinkle cut fries, but these were nicely seasoned and especially crispy. 
There is a tv in the corner that is always playing The Andy Griffith show.  Most of the rest of the walls is covered in NASCAR stuff as the owners use to sponsor a Sprint racecar team.  The unusual name of the place comes from the original owner who had two daughters, Linda and Margaret.
Linda-Mar Drive-In
1614 W. 51st Street
Tulsa, OK
Even though we were tired, we did make one more stop before retreating back to the hotel.  On my previous trip to Tulsa, I wasn't able to see the inside the gorgeous Boston Avenue Methodist Church.  We were hoping to take a quick look see.
This art deco beauty was built in 1929 and really stands out in the Tulsa skyline.  We found the entrance and checked in with the secretary and she gave us some brochures about the history and a self-guided map.  I get the feeling they get a lot of visitors here.  Some photos:

We spent just about an hour here and I still don't think we saw everything.  Time to head back to the hotel, where we both enjoyed long naps.
Much more to come.....
post edited by buffetbuster - 2012/05/18 12:36:30
Michael Hoffman
Double-chop Porterhouse
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/17 12:48:54
Damned burgers!
Nice kudu. They're delicious you know.
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/17 12:57:24
I should have guessed you would have known what kind of animal that was.  Where did you taste them at?
And you may be happy to hear that there are no more burgers!
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/17 14:09:12
Wednesday April 25, 2012 (cont.)
Howard Baratz was nice enough to send us a list of places in Tulsa that he recommended.   One of them that jumped out at me was a German restaurant called Siegi's Sausage Factory.  This could have been the perfect change of pace meal, except that they close at 8:00PM and there was a tv show we wanted to watch and it didn't end until 8:00.  So Siegi's goes on the list for next time in town.
Instead, we went to the Tulsa branch of Doe's Eat PlaceDoe's has become a fairly large chain, but has serious Roadfood roots.  The original Greenville, MS location is one of the all-time Roadfood greats and I believe the food at the Little Rock location is even better.  I have also eaten at the Paducah, KY and the now defunct Starkville, MS restaurants and have never had a bad meal.
Doe's is located in a nice neighborhood, full of restaurants and bars, just a short distance from downtown.  It is fairly big and has a nice patio for outside dining.  All of this is in stark contast to the Greenville Doe's.  Almost all of my exterior shots were unworthy of posting, but I did get a nice picture of the decorative glass above the front door. 

The inside is roomy and made to look like a sports bar,

with banners from universities across the country.
The first item out was an appetizer of Doe's famous tamales. 

We found these to be on the dry side and they needed the chili.  Both of us are soup lovers and they had some interesting choices here.  Johnny went for the lobster bisque. 

I probably wouldn't have thought to order that here in Tulsa, but he was rewarded with an excellent bowl rich and buttery lobster bisque.  My bowl was less successful, which was not the restaurant's fault.  About a year ago, I was having some health problems, which turned out to be acid reflux.  Mine is very mild and only bothers me when I eat too much.  But, one of the things I am supposed to stay away from is tomatoes.  Occasionally, I forget and this was one of those times.  The roasted tomato and gouda cheese bisque

sounded too good to pass up.  After just a few sips, I realized this was a mistake and stopped.  Being the class guy he is, Johnny offered to switch, but there was no way I was going to take his lobster bisque away.  Johnny did finish up my soup after he was done with his own.
Salads come with your meal. 

The lettuce is limp and covered in the house dressing, which is like a lemon vinaigrette.  This is one thing in which I think I enjoyed more than he did.
For an entree, we decided to split the 24 oz. porterhouse. 

Johnny prefers his steaks medium rare, while I like mine medium.  Just to play it safe, we ordered medium.  Unfortunately, it came out undercooked.  Parts of it were medium rare (which made Johnny happy), but other parts were just rare.  This was not good for me and I only ate one or two bites of the steak.  Johnny seemed to enjoy it and ate almost all of it.
This wasn't too big a deal to me, because I also ordered a side of a dozen shrimp.  They came half fried and half broiled. 

The fried shrimp were on the small side, but were fresh with a light crunchy coating.  The broiled shrimp were nice and soft and wading in a pool of liquid, which tasted of lemon, pepper, garlic and Worcestershire sauce.  This I very much enjoyed!
Potato-wise, they had several choices.  Johnny got the boiled potatoes

which were so soft, they gave no fork resistance.  I was expecting these to be in a pool of butter, but instead came with butter and sour cream on the side, like a baked potato.  My potatoes were skin on mashed. 

I would take small forkfuls and drag them through the leftover broiled shrimp sauce, making sure none of that delicious sauce got away.
Despite the misstep with the steak, I still walked out of this meal happy with what I ate.  One other small complaint, though.  The table next to us had three oil workers, who were loud and cursing way too much more than was appropriate in a nicer restaurant.  Hey, I have been known to use blue language myself at times (the last 2 decades of being a Pirate fan will do that to you), but this was just excessive.  If we had it to do over again, we should have asked to move seats, because the place was practically empty.
Doe's Eat Place
1350 East 15th Street
Tulsa, OK
It was straight back to the hotel, because we had an early start scheduled for the next day.
Much more to come.....    
post edited by buffetbuster - 2012/05/17 14:16:50
Michael Hoffman
Double-chop Porterhouse
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/17 14:27:29

I should have guessed you would have known what kind of animal that was.  Where did you taste them at?

And you may be happy to hear that there are no more burgers!

Hey, I love all those burgers.
I've eaten kudu while hunting in South Africa and Botswana.
Howard Baratz
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/17 23:25:43
It was a pleasure meeting you and Johnny. So glad that you enjoyed your time in Tulsa. All of the locals are still talking about that guy who takes pictures of all of his food.
Come back soon and we can hit Bill's Jumbo Burgers, Siegi's, Coleman's and a few other surprises.
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/18 07:44:49
Thanks Howard!  We really did have a fantastic time in Tulsa.  It definitely won't be four years between visits again.
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/18 13:38:59
Thursday April 26, 2012
We were up and out of our hotel before light and headed southeast towards Fort Smith, Arkansas.  Near Broken Arrow, we stopped for gas.  Since it was my turn to pay for gas, Johnny went into the convenience store for coffee.  As soon as he walked in, the clerk said, "Hi John!".  This threw him off for a second, at least until the man directly behind him answered back.
The drive was very pretty, with all the fog and the sun coming up.

We were hoping to visit Fort Smith National Historic Site, but it was still an hour before they would open.  While driving through town, we spotted a great looking little drive-in called Ed Walker's.  According to their sign, they specialize in french dip.  But, once again we were too early as they didn't open until 10:00AM.  Anyone ever been to Ed Walker's before?  From the looks, we missed out on a pretty good place.
We finally got to our first meal of the day, Jenny Lind's Country Cafe.  The street address says it is located in Greenwood, but the map says there is a town called Jenny Lind here.  I am curious why this small town in Arkansas is named after a famous Swedish singer.  The GPS made a couple mistakes, but we managed to find it without much incident. 
The outside looked pure country

and we were feeling good about our decision to come here.  The interior had a piano, mismatched tables and chairs,

but looked very neat and organized.  Our waitress came over, with a thick Southern drawl (remember, we had been in Oklahoma, where people sounded completely different) and asked if we were the boys who called earlier.  Yes, ma'am, that would be us!
We were here because of their place on the list of 15 Best Pies in Arkansas.  Since we were the only customers here and some pies were still in the oven, we felt no rush to order our desserts.  We decided a small amount of breakfast would be a good idea.  We went with the fried bologna,

which was extra thick, fatty, juicy and had a nice char.  This came with home fries and eggs, which we ordered scrambled.  That wasn't a lot of food for the two of us, so we also got a single order of biscuits and gravy. 

This was sensational!  The biscuit was small, soft and melt in your mouth good.  Johnny loved it!  The gravy was not too thick, not too thin and very peppery.  Only because we had lots of pie to eat, did we not order lots more of the B & G.
While we were waiting for the food, I got up and looked around.  They have some impressive handmade pie cases here,

which tells me just how important pies are at Jenny Lind's.  They have a seperate menu board just for the desserts. 

Now, those are what they normally offer, but they didn't have everything ready yet.
Once our pies were sat down in front of us, I had to take this ChiTownDiner inspired shot. 

First up was Johnny's choice, the coconut cream,

which surprised us by being on the small side.  Johnny described the filling as being thick and creamy.  The crust was soft and fragile, the meringue very airy.  This was a really good slice of pie. 
Next up was the butterfinger crunch,

my choice.  We were told that this pie was basically butterfinger candy bar mixed with whipped cream.  It did have several chunks of butterfinger in it.  Very light and smooth, this pie bordered on being too sweet, but we still liked it.
Finally, the extra slice was the buttermilk. 

The custard was indeed firm, very sweet and reminded us of a chess pie.  There was also lots of coconut, but strangely, we didn't taste much of the buttermilk.  Still, this was another fine slice of pie that we thoroughly enjoyed.
The ladies who took care of us were a real hoot.  When we mentioned we had just spent five days in Oklahoma, she got a smile on her face and said, "Oh, I'm sorry to hear that."  Obviously, there is a rivalry with these two states or at least some good natured ribbing.  When our pies showed up, the owner (and expert pie maker) 

came out of the kitchen, because she "had to meet these two boys who came so far just for pie."  She spent a lot of time at our table, telling us the history of the place and just chatting.  The building goes back to 1888 and used to be the town's schoolhouse.

If we had it to do over, we both would have ordered full breakfasts here, because I'm thinking all of their food is probably pretty good.  But, we would return to Jenny Lind's Country Cafe just for those pies and the good company.
Jenny Lind's Country Cafe
2655 Gate Nine Road
Greenwood, AR
We got back in the car, looking to do some sightseeing.
Much more to come.....        
post edited by buffetbuster - 2012/05/18 13:57:12
Rocky Enfield
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/18 13:43:46
This is such a great report that I can't wait to read the rest of it.  While all the food descriptions, photos of food and memorabilia is outstanding I have to say that the photos of the OK City Bombing memorial moved me to near tears.  Thank you for including those.  With all that has happened in the 17 years since then you almost forget about it. Your pictures reminded me of man's inhumanity towards man. I can only imagine how you must have felt standing there on that hallowed ground.
Keep up the great postings and thanks for making your trips come alive for the rest of us.
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/18 14:00:06

We finally got to our first meal of the day, Jenny Lind's Country Cafe.  The street address says it is located in Greenwood, but the map says there is a town called Jenny Lind here.

I'll ask my friend at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette to see if he can find out the meaning behind the name.  But check out this map; apparently there was an "Old Jenny Lind" at one time as well.  And since the cafe is a one-story building while the school had two I wonder if a tornado heavily damaged the area sometime in the past.
EDIT:  This article explains the origin of the name but doesn't go into detail about the 2 different towns.
post edited by ScreamingChicken - 2012/05/18 14:22:51
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/18 14:04:57
That buttermilk pie looks (and from your description, sounds) just like a buttermilk pie recipe I've made that's from an ancient set of Women's Day encyclopedia cookbooks that my mother gave to me when I was an adolescent.  I think the books were originally published in the mid-1960s, and I have several recipes from them that I use all the time, including a fabulous recipe for no-knead "feather" dinner rolls that is out of this world, and that we often have on holidays.
I agree -- the pie doesn't taste like buttermilk at all.  I like it a lot, and it is very easy to make.
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/18 15:17:00

Thanks Howard!  We really did have a fantastic time in Tulsa.  It definitely won't be four years between visits again.

BB, I suffered with acid reflux for years, because my family said you come from a long line of bad stomachs!!! Well, my Dr. gave me a prescription for Prevacid, and it was like a dream!! I can eat anything I want now, and I had reflux so bad that the Dr. was afraid I was going to get throat cancer because the acid had ate at my throat so bad! Prevacid, good stuff!
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/18 16:11:27
I go into daydream mode when I read your reports, Buffetbuster.
Oklahoma is high up there on the list of states I haven't been to that I want to get to, largely to try those onion-fried burgers. I'll get there one of these days!
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/18 20:04:16
For those of you who suffer with acid reflux, I saw an ad for this product in a newspaper. Aloe in various forms is supposed to relieve Acid Reflux. I know nothing about this product and don't have AR. Just letting you know it's out there.
Filet Mignon
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/18 22:04:43
Zegerid OTC is the way to go for stopping reflux.
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/18 22:49:17
For what it's worth, I've had acid reflux for years.  I discovered the cure for it was to watch what I ate.  When I ate too many acidic items (which, unfortunately, consists of most of the tasty things in life), the reflux would occur; when I ate enough alkaline items (salads and greens, stuff like that), I would not have it.  When my Ph level got too acidic, reflux would occur.  To avoid reflux, I don't eat anything after 8:00 p.m., and I drink a couple of glasses of water mixed with about 3 oz. of pure lemon juice; this is enough to alkalize my body.  Lastly, I take six capsules of Buffer ph made by Vaxa, some company in Tampa.  This ensures me that I won't awake in the middle of the night with my stomach acid in my lungs.  Again, I pass it along for what it's worth.
Filet Mignon
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/18 23:31:26
buffetbuster... assorted questions:
  • Any truth to the rumor that Razorbacks are the Southern version of Cheeseheads?
  • Boxers, briefs, thong, or commando? Never mind, I really don't want to know or even think of it.
  • Candidly, when you first heard of the Thiensville Fishfry Pig, which Contingent member immediately came to your mind?
  • What was the best burger on this year's Cliff & Johnny's Excellent Adventure?
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/21 07:41:37
Rocky Enfield

This is such a great report that I can't wait to read the rest of it.  While all the food descriptions, photos of food and memorabilia is outstanding I have to say that the photos of the OK City Bombing memorial moved me to near tears.  Thank you for including those.  With all that has happened in the 17 years since then you almost forget about it. Your pictures reminded me of man's inhumanity towards man. I can only imagine how you must have felt standing there on that hallowed ground.

Keep up the great postings and thanks for making your trips come alive for the rest of us.

Thanks so much Rocky.  This was now the third time I have been to the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial.  I won't say it didn't have as big of an impact on me this time, but there is nothing quite like seeing it for the first time.  The final room of the main exhibit area is where they have photos and personal belongings of those who died.  Let's just say I am glad they have boxes of Kleenex readily available.  The museum really does a wonderful job of handling an incredibly difficult subject in a tasteful and thoughtful manner.  I highly recommend it to anyone who visits OKC. 

Fire Safety Admin
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/21 07:58:36
Screaming Chicken-
Thanks so much for bringing those links to my attention.  Now I am curious why there was a Jenny Lind and an Old Jenny Lind.  If your friend at the newspaper comes up with anything,please report back!
I appreciate the kind words!  I will be writing more about it later on, but Oklahoma is an underrated Roadfood state.  I hope you get a chance to try those onion burgers.
You got me wondering if the buttermilk pie comes straight from those cookbooks.  It sure sounds that way.  While we were chatting, the friendly owner even remarked how easy someof her pies were to make.
Thanks to everyone for all the advice on acid reflux.  Obviously, this is a common problem.  Everyone seems to have a different method and medication which works for them.  I am lucky that mine is very mild and the only time it rears its ugly head is when I seriously overeat.  On this trip, I took one of my pills every other day and never had a problem the entire time, despite how much food we put away.
post edited by buffetbuster - 2012/05/21 08:44:36
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/22 08:00:12
Thursday April 26, 2012 (cont.)
We briefly considered driving back to Fort Smith National Historic Site or Ed Walker's Drive-In, but we had too much to do on this day, so those things will have to wait for a future trip.  You may have noticed the unusual road name Jenny Lind's Country Cafe is located on, as the Gate Nine Road refers to Fort Chafee.  The reason for our visit here was the Fort Chafee Barbershop Museum, also known as the Elvis Haircut Historic Site.  I have to admit, this was my first ever haircut historical site!

When Elvis entered the Army, his getting a haircut was a huge deal.  I like this photo of the press covering the big event.

It happened in that first chair on the right.  

But, my favorite thing here is a letter

on display from three young ladies in Montana to President Eisenhower, pleading with him not to make Elvis shave his famous locks.  If anyone has trouble reading it, let me know and I will write it out here.  As for Elvis, he seemed to understand that this was his duty and didn't make a big deal out of it.  They have a quote by him leading into the barbershop.

Fort Chafee is also famous as a filming location for such movies as A Soldier's Story, Biloxi Blues (a personal favorite of mine) and Tuskegee Airmen.  And it also served as a home for refugees from Vietnam,

Cuba and those displaced from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.  During World War II, it also served as a P.O.W. camp.  There is a lot of history here and we enjoyed the hour or so visit.
It was approaching lunchtime and we drove to Paris, AR, home to two restaurants reviewed on this site across the street from each other, Rogerland Restaurant and Grapevine.  Thinking the buffet at Rogerland Restaurant

would help us get in and out quicker, we went there.  It quickly became clear to us we picked the wrong one.  Johnny decided right away that he was getting the buffet, while I looked over the menu, thinking about going for the bbq.  When I started asking questions to the waitress (who was actually very pleasant), she was obviously pushing me to get the buffet.  Eventually, I acquiesced.  I found out later, she is the only waitress here during a busy lunchtime and that is why she wanted me to get the buffet.  This was my fault, because I know better.
There is no other way to put it, but the food on the buffet is not good.  There is a big variety,

but the mashed potatoes were instant, the gravy certainly wasn't homemade, canned green beans, mushy yams, etc. 

The Southern vegatables were bland and lifeless.  No need to go on.  Johnny did like the greens, but otherwise agreed that this was a forgettable meal.  Actually, the cherry cobbler

was sugary sweet and gummy in a good way.
Next time, I will try the bbq.  Actually, there probably won't be a next time, as we will go across to the street to Grapevine.  And it wasn't a total loss.  We got to see Snuffy's Bait & Tackle

next door!
Rogerland Restaurant
27 1st Street
Paris, AR
We got back in the car headed for Hot Springs.
Much more to come.     
post edited by buffetbuster - 2012/05/22 09:13:38
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/22 10:01:15
Thursday April 26, 2012 (cont.)
The drive from Paris, AR to Hot Springs takes you on two lane country roads through Ouichita National Forest and was quite pretty.  At least that's what Johnny told me, since I slept a good portion of it.
Once in town, we went straight to McClard's Bar-B-Q

This restaurant goes back back to 1928 and they have a great neon sign out front. 

I think they have also added to the mural next to the parking lot,

as this is the first time I have seen the pink shaded one.
McClard's has long been a favorite of mine and along with the Brick Pit in Mobile, I think they make the best ribs I have ever had.  Having talked this place up to Johnny for a long time, I was a little nervous that they would live up to our expectations.  I shouldn't have worried, because the food was fantastic!  Johnny went for the rib, slaw and beans plate. 

The beans had a mushy texture and not a lot of flavor.  Johnny spiced them up by adding plenty of that great bbq sauce.  The peppery, finely chopped slaw was much better.  I'm at a loss of what to call this type of cole slaw at times, because it isn't liquidy like many slaws, but calling it dry wouldn't be fair either.  Johnny also tasted a slight sweetness to it, which I didn't taste.
But who cares about that, it is all about the ribs.  And these ribs are world class! 

They are extra large in size, with very little fat on them.  Instead of fall off the bone, Johnny called it bite off the bone as the meat easily seperated.  And such great smoky flavor!  We were both filling the room with yummy noises. 
My dinner was the rib and fry plate. 

If I remembered correctly, the top of this is supposed to be slathered in sauce, but that was no problem since there was a bottle of sauce on our table.  The french fries are crispy and golden brown.  Eating the ribs and fries covered in sauce is pure bliss and requires lot of napkins!
Because I had always been here alone before, I had never been able to try the famous tamale spread. 

Truthfully, once it was delivered, it sat there untouched for the longest time while we were eating ribs.  But eventually we started into it and it was much better than I ever imagined.  A mixture of pork, cheese, tamales, chili, onions and lots more of that glorious bbq sauce, we couldn't stop eating it despite being fairly full from the ribs.  They did provide crackers to eat it with, but we mostly went with forks.  Johnny pointed out that the tamale spread would be the ultimate food for watching sports.  I had to agree.
Strangely enough, here we are in the South and the iced tea was unsweet.  The inside of the restaurant is nice, with a combination of booths and counter seats. 

The one negative is that you have to walk outside to use the bathroom.
Our waitress was an attractive woman around our age.  Our accents gave us away and she asked where we were from and what we were doing in town.  When we told her we planned on having breakfast at The Pancake Shop the next morning, she told us her mother is a long time waitress there and we should ask for her by name.  And, her daughter had also just recently started.  Three generations of woman, all working at Roadfood restaurants. Pretty impressive!
Needless to say, we loved McClard's.  This was on the short list of best meals we ate on the trip.
McClard's Bar-B-Que
505 Albert Pike
Hot Springs, AR
It was time to do some sightseeing in Hot Springs.
Much more to come.....      
post edited by buffetbuster - 2012/05/22 10:07:13
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/22 11:35:03

The one negative is that you have to walk outside to use the bathroom.

Which is its own separate structure and not the nearest tree, shrub, or wall...right?
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/22 11:52:44
BB:  I always enjoy your write and visits.  I am doing ribs for Roz this weekend and I am certain they will not be anywhere as good as what you shared or the Brickpit in Mobile.
Roz and I just got back from a long weekend trip to Charlotte and Myrtle Beach.  WJ steered me to Lu'Wan's ion Charlotte and it was outstanding and we did the Sea Captain in Myrtle.  Super seafood but the tartar sauce was sweet and the hushpuppies were not what we were use to.  Just fried cornbread which here in TN is not hushpuppies.  Gpotta have onions and jalapeno to jack them up a notch.
Thanks for your input to Roadfood.
Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN  
ann peeples
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/22 13:28:08
Its so funny- Bob and I were never big on ribs. But since joining roadfood years back, and reading reports like yours, BB,( along with everyone elses's!) we have them at least once a week in some shape or form!!
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/22 15:15:55
Great Report & Pictures.
Not familiar with Tamale Spread. What is it and what does it look like? How is it made???
I assume it's masa and some other filling that you spread on Crackers or something?????? 
post edited by Foodbme - 2012/05/22 15:16:58
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/22 15:25:05
I'm taking notes.  I'm already slated for a July trip to KC.  Been looking forward to my first Stroud's visit since 2006.
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/22 20:06:20
Holy Moly.  What a trip!  Thanks for 'taking one for the team' and risking acid reflux to give us a great Roadfood experience!
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/22 22:46:38
Thursday April 26, 2012 (cont.)
Our first stop in Hot Springs National Park

was the Hot Springs Mountain Tower. 

At 216 feet tall, it gives you an excellent view of the surrounding area.  If you look this direction,

you see nothing but thick forest and this way overlooks the city.

They have a history display at the top of the tower and Hot Springs certainly does have a colorful history.  It has been the haven for gangsters, spring training site for several major leagues ball clubs

and President Bill Clinton grew up here.  What I would have really enjoyed though, was to be pulled around in a cart by an ostrich!

I could do without buying an alligator, though.
Once we got back into the town portion of the park, we decided to walk down Central Avenue to see where our breakfast destination, The Pancake Shop was located.  We were stopped by a man in a wheelchair,

who had noticed my Pittsburgh Steelers t-shirt.  It turns out he was a retired steelworker from Monessen who wanted to talk a little football.  Even though he was now living far from home, he still followed his favorite team and we had an enjoyable chat.  BTW, some of the notable people from Monessen include Coolio, Frances McDormand and famous makeup artist in horror films, Tom Savini.
There is a pool of water being feed by a spring coming down the hillside. 

When sticking out fingers in to test how hot it was, we did not expect it to be as hot as it was.  This would be way too hot to ever take a bath in.  We read later that they did use cold water to cool it down before spa guests would use it.  Bathhouse Row is a series of buildings of beautiful old spas. 

The most impressive one, Fordyce Bathhouse

doubles as the park visitor's center.
The restored interior is beautiful.  On the third floor they have an impressive old gymnasium

and parlor room.
Some of the dressing rooms are opulent, including this one with a stained glass ceiling

and a sculpture that I have titled, Who Needs A Duck?

While the old spa equipment was designed for comfort and relaxation, they can also look like torture devices.

The visitor's center kicked us out at 5:00PM closing time, so we checked into our hotel to relax for a few hours before dinner.
Much more to come.....
post edited by buffetbuster - 2012/05/22 23:13:19
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/23 06:08:46
Thursday April 26, 2012 (cont.)
Our dinner destination, Stubby's Hik-Ry Pit Bar-B-Que

is open until 8:00PM.  We showed up at 7:30 and they were already cleaning up to close, since there were no other customers.  Yes, we did have our appetites back. 

Thanks for asking!
First up for us was the Pot O Beans. 

I had this side dish on my previous visit to Stubby's in 2010 and it blew me away.  Unfortunately, it didn't look nearly as appetizing, as it had been sitting around all day.  A top layer of crustiness had developed where it was exposed to the air.  Once we did a little maintenance to it, we were very happy with this.  This is a bowl of sweet baked beans, topped with plenty of pit ham and doused with sauce.
For our entree, we decided to split the Ultimate Platter,

which is a combination of ribs, ham, pork and beef.  My favorite was the ribs, which were big, meaty, provided a crusty chew and only slighty less enjoyable than those served at McClard's.  The pit ham and pork were both very tender and cut easily with a fork.  Johnny enjoyed the brisket more than I did.
For sides, we went with potatos salad and cole slaw.  The slaw

was wet and not too sweet.  The potato salad

was chopped into small little bits and was yellow, although the mustard taste was mild.
Despite the fact that they were getting ready to close, the staff made us feel very comfotable.  We offered to get our food to go, but they told us over and over to take our time since they would be cleaning up for a while.  They even brought our refills without us asking.  Really nice people here.  So we stayed and watched part of the first round of the NFL draft on their tv.
Although the circumstances were different, I do think McClard's is the better of the two bbq parlors we visited on this day.  Still, Hot Springs is lucky to have two such excellent places to choose from.
Stubby's Hik-Ry Pit Bar-B-Que
3024 Central Avenue
Hot Springs, AR
It was straight back to the hotel for the night.
Much more to come.....   
post edited by buffetbuster - 2012/05/23 06:16:22
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/23 07:45:19
Did you climb the Mountain Tower?
Glad you liked Stubby's as much as I did
I didn't have the Pot of Beans- just the side of beans which came with my meal
You should have gone for the pit potato!
Next time I'm in the area  which I gather should be in yet another 13 years, I'll have to check out McClard's
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/23 08:22:02
My experiences with ribs are similar.  I was never a big rib fan until discovering Roadfood.  Now that I have had them in some of the best bbq parlors in the country, it has become one of my favorite foods.  Unfortunately, none of those places are around here, so i don't order them that often.
Six years since you have been to Stroud's?  that is way too long for someone who travels as much as you do.  Hopefully, it will be as good as you remember.
Thanks for the compliment.  The acid reflux seems to be under control.  It seems as long as I am smart about it and stay away from anything tomatoey, I don't have a problem.
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/23 08:24:55

Great Report & Pictures.
Not familiar with Tamale Spread. What is it and what does it look like? How is it made???
I assume it's masa and some other filling that you spread on Crackers or something?????? 

I know it doesn't look like what one would normally think of as a spread, but it is exactly what is shown in the above photos, made with tamale, chili, pork, cheese, onions and sauce.  And I very much appreciate the generous comments.
post edited by buffetbuster - 2012/05/23 08:26:53
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/23 08:42:21

Did you climb the Mountain Tower?

(Wipes tears of laughter from my eyes)  WJ, you should be doing stand up!
Since Johnny and I are lovers of baked beans, the Pot O Beans was an easy choice.  I don't really even remember any discussion about the pit potato, so it seems we missed out on something good.  We probably wouldn't have had room for it, though.
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/23 09:11:16
Six years since you have been to Stroud's?  that is way too long for someone who travels as much as you do.  Hopefully, it will be as good as you remember.

Indeed.  Somehow KC keeps eluding me.  I used to pass through there 6-8 times a year in the 90s (I used to frequently drive from Minneapolis to Columbia, MO to visit friends, stopping either in Ames, IA or KC, depending on schedule, for food, and Stroud's was a frequent dinner stop)
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/24 07:44:56
Friday April 27, 2012
This was not a great day for me.  Oh, I ate lots of pie, so it wasn't a total waste, but I don't ever remember doing so many dumb things in one day.  While it is a little embarrassing, some of you might find it amusing.
When we arrived early at The Pancake Shop

for breakfast, there was already a big crowd.  As soon as we walked in the door, we were immediately waved to the only open table.  Had we arrived 30 seconds later, there would have been a wait.  And for the rest of our time here, there was a line out the door.  The crowd did seem to be mostly tourists, which is no surprise since this is a big tourist area.  Just a few doors down is one of those cheesy wax museums.  If I remember correctly, there is a small handful of seats at a short counter, but all the other seating is at tables.

We looked over the menu and they do have plenty of non-pancake options, but how can you not order pancakes at a place called The Pancake Shop?  Here

is the pancake portion of the menu.
Somehow, I managed to not take any photos of my single order of banana pancakes.  No idea how that happened.  Anyway, these aren't the light, fluffy style of pancakes.  These things are heavy, substantial and are wide enough to fill up the whole plate.  Thank goodness I only ordered one because I never would have been able to eat two.  The pancake was also full of plenty of cut up bananas.  The maple syrup is also served warm,

which is a nice touch.
Johnny ordered a stack of two of the blueberry pancakes. 

Notice the one renegade blueberry playing king of the hill on top.  To see just how many blueberries there were in these, Johnny flipped it over.

Strangely, it seemed his blueberry pancakes were thicker than my banana pancake.  He also said there were a couple of spots in the middle where it wasn't cooked all the way through.  Still, he ate them both and was happy with his choice.
On the side, we split an order of thin, very crisy bacon

and some toast.

With the toast, comes grape jelly and some excellent homemade apple butter.
Service here was efficient, but not what I would call friendly.  Considering how many people come through these doors every morning, that is understandable as they need to get you in and out quick.  Johnny noticed a table next to us, where two two older women had been sitting and they left a one dollar tip.  Not cool at all.
During our meal, I was trying to spot which waitress was Evelyn, the mother of the woman who waited on us at McClard's.  I asked Johnny that I was thinking of asking which waitress was Evelyn and he answered, "Evelyn?  I thought her name was Irene."  Hmmm, I was sure I heard Evelyn, where did he get Irene from?  I eventually told our waitress that we ate at McClard's the night before and we were supposed to say hello to the mother of our waitress there.  She relied, "Oh, that's Irene.  She's been here forever, but she has the day off today."  So, Johnny was right.  How did I come up with Evelyn?
The Pancake Shop
216 Central Avenue
Hot Springs, AR
We got in the car and headed towards Little Rock.
Much more to come.....
post edited by buffetbuster - 2012/05/24 08:32:41
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/24 15:53:06
Friday April 27, 2012 (cont.)
Once we got on I-40 towards Little Rock, I called into work.  What should have been a quick phone call turned into longer than expected and I wasn't paying attention where we were on the highway.  By the time I got off the phone, we had already passed my next planned stop, Ed & Kay's.  This is small cafe right next to the highway that makes really good pies.  Equally disappointing is that I had also wanted to stop and see the only known building made of bauxite.  The reason we couldn't double back was that I knew that our lunch destination, Charlotte's Eats & Sweets gets very crowded and I didn't want to wait in a long line.  So, we wanted to be there when they opened at 11:00AM.  If I had been paying better attention to what we were doing, we could have had pie at Ed & Kay's, seen the bauxite building and arrived at Charlotte's in time for their opening.  Very disappointing!
Charlotte's is located in Keo, Arkansas, a small blip on the map southeast of Little Rock.  According to the 2000 census, Keo had 235 people and I can tell you there hasn't been a major growth spurt since then. Charlotte's

is easy to find as there aren't many businesses here.  It is between the tiny city hall and just a little further down the street, a taxidermy shop.  We arrived around 10:30AM, which allowed us some time to catch up on our notes for the trip.  Around 10:45, other cars started to pull in and when the doors opened, there were about 25 people milling around outside.  By 11:15, there was a wait for a table.
In the front room, there is a long case full of tea pots, knickknacks and antiques. 

On the other side, sits a walnut soda fountain.  The back dining room is much bigger and on my previous visit here, was full of ladies from the Red Hat Club.  Even before we looked at the regular menu, we were eyeing up the dessert list. 

Maybe someday I will try one of the cakes, but for now, it is all about the pie.  When the waitress came over, she recommended ordering our pie ahead of time, because they are known to run out quick.  Needless to say, that was our plan, too.  Johnny went caramel pie, I went chocolate and they were soon sitting at our table. 

This quartet of diners had the same idea,

as they had their pies on the table before their entrees.
When I went to use the men's room, I noticed a counter with pies a'plenty lined up. 

I ran back to our table to grab my camera.  When they saw me taking the photos, they invited me in for some closer shots. 

These are some seriously gorgeous pies!
We eventually quick the pie oogling and ordered our entrees.  Here is the main sandwich part of the menu.
Johnny went for the signature sandwich, known as the Keo Klassic. 

This is smoked turkey, tomato onion, avocado, Monterey Jack cheese on sourdough.  Sounds good, but not particularly interesting.  The twist is they deep it in a Parmesan garlic cream and then grill it.  The top part of the bread it light and crispy, while the bread underneath stayed soft.  Johnny was also a fan of the thick, creamy cheese and the tasted fresh avocado.  He loved his sandwich.  On my previous visit to Charlotte's, I had the same sandwich and also thought it was a winner.
This time, I went for another of their "very special specialties", the reuben. 

Now, this isn't one of those giant overstuffed reubens you would see at a deli, but more like a delicate reuben from a tea house serving ladies lunch.  It was not too thick, easy to eat and had a wonderful, strong, yet not overpowering horseradish flavor.  I very much enjoyed it.  Both sandwiches came with potato chips, olives and a dill pickle.
It was finally time to dig into our pies. 

I know, I'm as surprised as you are we didn't eat the pie first.  The meringues on the pies were a true thing of beauty.  While we were eating our sandwiches, one of us accidentally bumped the table and we just watched the meringue just shake back and forth.  The top was lightly burnt, the meringue a lovely white.  It was airy, yet still had substance to it, if you know what I mean.  The filling for both the chocolate and caramel was extremely dense, not overly sweet and unmistakably homemade.  These were some of the best pies of the trip.  And further proof that Arkansas might be the best state in the country for pies.  
If we didn't have such a rigorous pie schedule ahead of us,we would have tried more pie here.  We spotted the strawberry pie on another table and it looked so good.
It should be noted that Charlotte's is only open for lunch on Tuesdays through Saturdays and does not accept credit cards.
Charlotte's Eats & Sweets
290 Main Street
Keo, AR
We got back in the car to look for pie in Little Rock.
Much more to come.....
post edited by buffetbuster - 2012/05/24 21:39:55
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/25 07:58:22
Friday April 27, 2012 (cont.)
I felt bad that here is Johnny on his first ever trip to Arkansas and we are really only going to spend two days.  There are several reasons for that, which I will get into later.  But, once we hit Little Rock, our first stop was Chips BarbecueChips has been a popular bbq destination since 1961.  The outside looks more like a family restaurant than a bbq parlor

and the sign has seen better days.

Most of what I read about Chips is that the bbq is average, but don't miss out on their excellent pies.  Still doing just fine in the appetite department, we decided to try a pork sandwich and split it. 

We were asked if we wanted slaw on it and as always, the answer is yes.  The pork was cut up into small lean chunks and was very tender.  The slaw was vinegary and sweet.  This sandwich was much better than expected.  We also got an order of the barbecue beans and for a small charge, you can add some smoked meat of your choice.  Inspired by Stubby's Pot O Beans, we went with pit ham. 

The beans were firm, sweet, smoky and drenched in lots of the tasty sauce.  Chips has already won us over and we haven't even tried our pies yet!
Okay, time for the most embarrassing story from the week.  There are very few foods that cousin Johnny doesn't like, but he is not a fan of anything that contains chocolate chips.  When we were looking at the menu while standing in line to order, all the pies were listed something like:
Chips chocolate pie
Chips banana cream pie
Chips coconut pie
Chips lemon pie
I'm reading this and my brain interpreted it as all the pies have chocolate chips in them.  In that moment, I felt so sorry for Johnny.  I even said, "Johnny, I can't believe all the pies have chocolate chips in them.  Even the lemon pie!"  He looked at the menu again and then pointed out they just use the restaurant's name at the beginning of each pie.  Duh!  I can't remember the last time I felt so stupid.  The good news, Johnny was able to get pie without chocolate chips in it.
We weren't sure what to get until looking over the pies in the case. 

Everything looked good.  Johnny got the lemon pie,

which was fantastic!  Despite the pale yellow color, you could tell it was made with real lemon and had just the right amount of tart.  That is also a real whipped topping, with crumbled up graham cracker on top.  This pie was on the short list of Johnny's favorite of the trip.  Unfortunately, my banana pie

was much less successful.  While it did have more waves of that lovely whipped topping and lots of big slices of banana inside, the filling tasted very artificial as if straight from a box.  I was much happier helping Johnny with his lemon pie.
Overall, we really liked Chips Barbecue.  Two more things that caught our eye was the cool razorback sculpture

in the dining room and this excellent sign

hanging by the counter.    
Chips Barbecue
9801 W. Markham Street
Little Rock, AR
On my last visit to Little Rock, I was TravelinManned by another great sounding pie shop called Hunka Pie.  Since then, I have been following them on Facebook and Twitter, reading about their specials, hearing how great their pies are and today is the day I FINALLY get to eat there.  But, as Lee Corso would say, "Not so fast, my friend."  Yup, I have been TravelinManned by Hunka Pie twice now. 

There was no explanation on the door.  Very disappointing!
We got back in the car heading out of town on I-40.
Much more to come.....
post edited by buffetbuster - 2012/05/25 08:16:08
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/25 10:50:43
Thanks again for this wonderful report.
I have to say that the photo of the Keo Klassic looks great, and the ingredients are things I enjoy, with one exception: "Parmesan garlic cream."  Sorry -- that just sounds disgusting to me.  Garlic and cream together -- not appealing.  I do like garlic butter, but garlic and cream -- I don't think so.
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/25 12:23:45
Friday April 27, 2012 (cont.) 
Despite the setback of no pie at Hunka Pie, all was not lost, because we had yet another pie stop ahead of us.  That would be Stoby's in Russellville.  There is also a location in Conway.  We found out about Stoby's because their possum pie made an appearance in the previously mentioned 15 Best Pies in Arkansas list.  After all, how could we resist something called possum pie?
The theme of Stoby's is trains as half of the building is an old train car. 

You can even blow the whistle on your way in. 

Let me tell you, it was loud!  There is even a toy train running around tracks on the interior.

The first thing we noticed as we entered is the impressive pie case. 

We knew right then we were in for something good.  But, pie would have to wait, since we were also here to try another Arkansas specialty, cheese dip
Before doing research for this trip, I had no idea that cheese dip is so loved here.  It is so popular, they even have a World Cheese Dip ChampionshipStoby's offers regular yellow cheese dip or a spicy white cheese dip and we chose the latter. 

This is a mixture of several different cheeses that blends nicely.  The heat isn't apparent at first but it does catch up to you on the back end.  They do say it is unlimited chips, but when we had the cheese dip finished, 3/4 of the chips were leftover.  I can't say cheese dip is the most exciting regional specialty I have ever tried, but we did enjoy it. 
High time for pie!  Johnny went coconut cream

and was rewarded with his favorite slice of pie of the trip.  This had a seriously tall, light meringue with lots of toasted coconut on top.  The custard filling was incredibly thick.  Sorry this shot is blurry,

but you can see how dense it is on the fork.  I am not a fan of coconut and even I had to admit it was an excellent pie.
Though not quite as good, my possum pie was also a winner.  

I had first assumed that possum pie is something you will only find at Stoby's, but apparently it is another Arkansas thing.  I like how the menu

says it is only available during possum season.  You can see that there is two different layers of the custard filling.  The vanilla layer is mixed with creamed cheese and sour cream giving it an unusual, but delicious flavor.  The layer of chocolate filling was light and not too sweet.  Being a nut frowner, I was worried about the pecans, but it really proved to be no problem at all.  By the way, the pie isn't supposed to look like that.  But, Johnny went ahead and attacked it before I could snap my photo. 
We did wonder where the strange name for possom pie comes from.  I asked the waitress if they guaranteed a pound of possum meat in each pie.  When I posted a photo of the pie on Facebook, Nancypalooza asked whether it rolls over and plays dead when you approach it with a fork!   
For the first time I could recall on our entire trip, we just sat back and enjoyed a leisurely small meal.  Our dinner destination did not open for several hours, so we took our time.  It helped that our server was really good.  She was an apple cheeked young lady from Appleton and with her unmistakable Wisconsin accent, sounded like she belonged in Arkansas about as much as we did.  Oh, and to drink, I had the Mexican punch (which tasted like Kool-Aid)

and Johnny had the strawberry lemonade. 
I don't get the feeling that everything at Stoby's is as good as the pie or even the cheese dip.  But, if you are looking for a good slice in central Arkansas, this is a good place to go.
405 W. Parkway Drive
Russellville, AR
For some reason, the traffic in Russellville was terrible.  Almost as bad as what we had in Norman, OK.  It just seems strange that despite spending time in big cities like Kansas City, Wichita, Oklahoma City and Tulsa, we saw the worst traffic in smaller cities.
Much more to come.....          
post edited by buffetbuster - 2013/01/15 17:31:54
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/25 16:20:23
Oh my--that CFS looks awesome!  Was the gravy made from the drippings?  Out here in CA they put sausage gravy on CFS which is just not right, in my opinion. :(  Love your report, btw.
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/25 16:26:08
Holy mackeral!  I just went through Little Rock a few weeks back.  I was on my way the National Pie Championships in Orlando, FL, in fact.  Wish I could've tried these pies, especially the caramel one. 
The Travelin Man
Filet Mignon
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/25 17:33:20
How much longer will I have to wait before I make an appearance in this trip report. I'm getting a little bored with all of the non-Travelin' Man activity.
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/26 01:26:19
What, making sure Hunka Pie was closed for no apparent reason wasn't enough of an appearance for you!
mayor al
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/26 15:45:34
Love2bake- We were introduced to Carmel Pie at the Catfish Hotel next to the Shiloh Nat'l Military Battlefield. They not only served a wonderful Carmel Pie, but they gave us copies of their recipe!  Even a novice like me...and my 15 yr old grandson, have been able to make this fantasic treat several times since. I have not seen it anywhere outside of the Arkansas/Tennessee region.
Let us know when you make one !!
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Burgers, Barbecue and Pie 2012/05/27 13:36:53
Dear Mayor:  Does the recipe call for boiling cans of sweetened condensed milk?  If so, that is such a delicious flavor, although quite intense. 
I'm going to take your challenge and bake a caramel pie very soon and report back. :)
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